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Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
BY SAMANTHA WASSMER | St. Petersburg High
“Never judge a book by its movie” goes the saying, and I’m usually a strong believer in that. However, when it comes to Perks of Being a Wallflower, the movie did a good job of capturing the essence of one of my favorite books.
I’ve always had a hard time watching my favorite books turned into movie adaptations, and this was no exception. I was skeptical of how Stephen Chbosky could transform such a beloved book into a worthy movie. I was especially worried about how he would pull off all of dark elements, ranging from abuse to drugs to molestation.
Nervous about being disappointed, I could hardly stand the wait for the movie, but when I finally went to see it and was greeted by the book’s same entrance paragraph, I relaxed in my chair. I spent the next hour and 42 minutes laughing and crying, completely enthralled by Logan Lerman’s stunning performance. When the movie ended, I felt just like I did last summer when I finished the book.
However, it broke my heart to see many of my favorite elements from the book excluded from the big screen, much like the story of Charlie’s dad and the last episode of M*A*S*H. I was upset that the movie did not go into Charlie’s family dynamic much at all. It never touched Charlie’s grandfather on his mom’s side, therefore leaving out an explanation as to why Aunt Helen was the way she was.
Charlie’s siblings got along, and his parents never found out about his sister’s boyfriend hitting her, which in turn eliminated another of the best parts of the book: Charlie’s dad intervening in Charlie’s fight with his siblings in the car on the way to spend holidays with extended family. I also was disappointed the movie didn’t expand on Charlie’s relationship with his English teacher and cut out the part where he is invited to dinner with the teacher and his wife.
It was a shame the movie didn’t include Charlie’s talent for picking the perfect music, but I was especially angry over it never being explained why Charlie gave Sam his record of Something by the Beatles. The one omission that really devastated me, though, was Charlie’s last Secret Santa present to Patrick, the tragic, unnamed poem that was supposedly a suicide note. Although I can see why Chbosky didn’t include it, for me it was a gaping hole.
Yes, this is a whole lot of nitpicking. Nonetheless I was pleased by the movie adaptation. Before watching, I had made my peace with the fact that movie adaptations can’t be exactly like the books, and I trusted Stephen Chbosky, being author AND director, to know what needed to be included or not.
My trust was well placed. All the rewrites and additions only made the movie even more fantastic. Although I didn’t know how much I’d like Patrick being more flamboyant than described in the book, Ezra Miller’s performance made me love this Patrick just as much as the vision I had in my head. I loved Sam and Patrick’s routine to Come On, Eileen, and I was fascinated to see the story unravel in a viewpoint different from Charlie’s first-hand reports in letters. The switching of the “tunnel song” from Landslide by Fleetwood Mac to David Bowie’s Heroes even fit well, too.
Even though it strays quite far from the book, the ending tied the movie together, and the famous closing line of Charlie’s last letter gave the same feeling of great finality as the book.
Ultimately, the movie complements the book fantastically, with just enough differences so that those who see the movie first won’t feel too much repetition when they read the book later. Which everyone should.